Missouri: Failure to Wear Truck Seatbelt Does Not Result in Forfeiture of Benefits

Missouri: Failure to Wear Truck Seatbelt Does Not Result in Forfeiture of Benefits

An employer was not entitled to a reduction in a workers’ compensation award on the basis that an employee had failed to use safety devices (seat belts and a safety hat) provided by the employer [see Mo. Rev. Stat. § 287.120.5] because the employer had, contrary to a provision in the statute, failed to make a reasonable effort to cause its employees to use the safety device or devices and to obey or follow the rule so adopted for the safety of the employees. The 18-year-old employee in question had been on the job less than a month and had received no special training on the handling of a dump truck to which he was entrusted. The employee overturned the dump truck while rounding a corner on Route D in Wayne County. The truck rolled twice, fracturing the employee’s skull and placing him in a "persistent vegetative state" for the remainder of his life. The court stressed that it was insufficient just to tell employees to wear seatbelts and helmets. Courts have generally looked at an employer's efforts to train and monitor employee compliance with safety rules when examining whether an employer has taken reasonable efforts to cause compliance. The Commission used its allowed discretion in determining that the employer had not adopted any training program and had not monitored employee compliance with any rules. 

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. 

See Elsworth v. Wayne Cty., 2018 Mo. App. LEXIS 421 (Apr. 24, 2018)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 105.08.

Source:Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law